Cranberry-Vanilla-Dream-Cake-1

Well well well…did you expect me to make a mini cake for two with part of a cake mix?

I conveniently realized that a cake baked in a 9″ square pan becomes two large pieces of cake once stacked and sliced.  How many life occasions do you need just two slices of cake?  On Mondays? On Fridays for celebrating?  Everyday?  Let’s stick with everyday.

Cranberry-Vanilla-Dream-Cake-recipe

Baking a 9″ cake from a cake mix requires 2 cups of cake mix.  (To use the remaining 1 cup of cake mix from the box, try my Frosted Eggnog Cookies).

The dreamy part of this cake is the rich cranberry butter.  I made Audra’s cranberry butter, and instantly knew that it should be slathered between light, fluffy vanilla cake layers.  And the cream cheese vanilla frosting?  Well, it’s my go-to during the holiday season.

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I happen to think dairy makes almost any recipe better.  Butter, cream, sour cream, cream cheese–who’s with me?  I’ll even admit to you that I’m an adult that drinks milk daily.  Weird, right?  It shouldn’t be weird!  I think of milk as nature’s gatorade, but better.  Milk is the single greatest source of three of the four nutrients the Dietary Guidelines identified as lacking in the American diet – calcium, vitamin D and potassium.  And, since the American Dairy Association Mideast has partnered with Feeding America, more nutritious dairy products will be put in food banks across the country.  How can you help?  I’m so glad you asked!

We’re hosting a“Big Holiday Potluck,”and ADA Mideast will donate $1 to Feeding America for every “like,” comment or share each of the bloggers’ 12 recipes receive on its Facebook page between Dec. 6 and 13.

So, be like me and drink milk!  And help others drink it, too!

But, sometimes don’t be like me—grease your pan:

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So, head on over to the American Dairy Association Mideast Facebook page and click ‘LIKE!’ Each time you do, you’re helping feed people.  And that’s pretty great.

PS I love cows:

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PPS I tried to take this cow home with me.  It was awkward for all parties involved.


Cranberry Vanilla Dream Cake (cake mix)

Yields 2 pieces of cake

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 2 cups dry yellow cake mix
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cream

For the cranberry butter:

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (or honey)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

For the frosting:

  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. First make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350. Spray an 8x8" pan with cooking spray.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the cake and beat with an electric mixer for 1 minute. Pour into the cake pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely.
  3. Meanwhile, make the cranberry butter by combining all ingredients except vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until cranberries start to burst, about 5-10 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer another 10 minutes, until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let cool completely (better if cooled overnight).
  4. Make the frosting by combining all ingredients and beating on high speed until light and fluffy.
  5. When ready to serve, carefully flip the cake out of the pan. Slice it in half (from top to bottom). Add a layer of cranberry butter to one half, then place the other half on top. Frost with cream cheese frosting, and serve.

Notes

Thanks to Audra for the cranberry butter recipe.
The amount of frosting that this makes is only enough to cover what you see in the photo. You can double the recipe for enough frosting to cover the entire cake.